Sunday, March 31, 2013

Why Spotted Deer population dwindle so fast in Bandhavgarh.

Why Spotted Deer population dwindle so fast in Chakradhara and Rajbehra meadow of Bandhavgarh?
there are mainly two reasons for this.
1. Chainlink fence does not allow young Tigers to leave the area at the time when they should leave. Young tigers always prey more on fawn than adult animals. it is easier for them. This practice makes them perfect in skill but deer fawn pays a heavy price for that and their mother, Tigress, suffers in later stage. In Chakradhara, which is roughly of about 4 sq km, there is a female Tiger with her three cubs and a pair of adult leopards and a young sub adult male leopard are living at present. On top of this Shashi the dominant male also visits the area regularly and shares the meal with female and cubs. Lately more Sambhar kill are reported by Tigress in Chakradhara. It is only due to thin density of Spotted Deer population in the area. Now her cubs are about 18 months old so she is going to dump them soon. Again these cubs will share their mothers territory for sometime and prey base will dwindled more. we know that tigress do dump their cubs. A tigress use to make 2-3 kills in a row far far away from territory. Later she will take her cubs there to leave them alone. That's how three females once formed their territory around their mother.   
2. Due to Chainlink fence Leopards are confined to a smaller area and their population density is higher than before. They are preying on same kind of wild animals on which Tigers survive. Leopard takes more fawn and females than male deer. So if in any area leopards are trapped in a Tiger territory than they can be held responsible for dwindling spotted deer numbers.
So no matter how much efforts are put to make the deer habitat better and better their population will never grow under the high density of Predators, who are forced to confine in a small area.

Gaur in Bandhavgarh.

Gaur were translocated from Kanha to Bandhavgarh in 2010. What we observed here is that Spotted Deer are pushed away by Gaur from the area where they are at present. We have not seen Gaur and Spotted Deer Browsing -grazing in same area. Although we ourselves has not been able to watch Gaur for a long period of the day due to park timing limits for a tourist.
We need to know more about this? Any reader of this blog Please inform us if you know any paper on this subject.  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Why Tigers eat porcupine?

Catching a porcupine is very dangerous affair for any cat. Tigers and Leopards are seen with porcupine quills struck around their face and in legs. So far in my life I saw four different cases where young Tigers killed the porcupine and saw a young male tiger with fresh porcupine quill for almost a month. In thta period he killed and ate minimum four porcupines.
Why they do it??
All the tigers I saw and photographed doing it were under three years of age, some were still with their mother. Curiosity makes them to inquire any rustling noise and chase any moving object. Very similar behaviour is observed in domestic kittens. Once we saw  three cubs following their mother on a hill when suddenly one of them heard some rustling sound in the grass, ran to it and came out with a porcupine dangling in her jaws. We think at that time porcupine was still alive but because her whole head was under his jaws so she made no noise and as tiger was rushing to join the other siblings we have no idea about his, porcupine, struggle.
Another time a cub ran in tall grass and came out with porcupine. One of the male of Tulsi's first litter was killing porcupine almost for a month. Every week we saw and photographed him with new porcupine quill on his body. He became very skilled hunter as far as porcupine were concerned.We never saw his other sibling with any porcupine quill. It could be because the other sibling was stronger, bigger and always first on kill to eat a major portion of the kill.
On another time we saw this 16 months old cub playing with porcupine and finished it in less than thirty minutes without leaving even any quill attach to the meat. He ate all.
I believe this is all their learning process. They learn their lessons as they grow. An adult tigers knows the danger involved in it so he never touches them as in the case of snakes but that story some other time.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sense of smell.

Sense of smell in Tigers is not as good as in Dogs. If a Tiger kill is shifted to 10-15 feet from its place where he was eating it first than it may take him few minutes to find the kill. They can smell it when it is close. Often we see cubs sniffing the ground to find out the scent mark of their mother from her pug marks. To get this scent mark they literally sniff the ground.
When this tiger was walking on this bank he found some typical smell of elephant dung which is more than 15 days old. He immediately sniff one lump and then second. 

So their sense of smell is not acute like dogs.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Why Tiger prefers to walk on open road???

This is one of the most frequently asked question by most of the tourist in the jungle. Some says because he prefers to walk on soft sand, clear path etc etc but no one tells them the truth.
Cats are very clean animal. They spend lots of time in cleaning their fur, paw and other body parts. They don't like grass seeds and other things struck to their fur. for the same reason one can watch domestic cats or Jungle cats. They behave in a very similar manner to tigers. They don't like any object struck to their fur.
Today we were watching this Wakeeta's male cub sitting on bank of Kinnarwah water hole watching his sister chasing Peacock.
At last he lost his patience and decided to join her. He was walking on bank. His move made many photographers very happy with a very good reflection in the water. I was shooting almost 6-7 frames per second. While checking these pictures at home I found these images giving me the answer.
He was perfectly fine before he reaches to this bush on bank.
When he reaches to close to this bush a small stick / branch touches his left cheek. Instantly his facial expression changes to grimace. 
So one can clearly see his concern about the twig touching his face in these pictures. 
I will say this could be the reason why they prefer to walk in open space. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tigers fighting in Bandhavgarh

Since last few days we are hearing about the fight between two tigers in Chorbehra. One is Shashi and other one could be Shardul??
Five days back a blood spot was seen in Chorbehra. Mahavat's presumed that one of the Tiger must be very seriously injured. Elephants were brought in, a male Tiger was seen opposite Siddh Baba temple. Before disappearing in cave this tiger even tried a mock charge on elephants. His identity could not be fixed. Later in day time Shashi appeared near Siddh Baba and remain sitting in water for whole afternoon.
We heard / read different stories. Someone commented on internet that Shashi had a wound on his neck and Shoulder. Pictures posted by Lala guide on facebook did not prove this story. He looked fine and vet saw him limping with right foreleg but he did not mention any injury.
If other Tiger is Shardul than he must have some injury but no one saw him since that day. Last night again they were heard fighting but none of the Tiger were seen in the morning.
Identity of second Tiger in this is still a mystery.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Photography Tour to Kaziranga for One Horned Rhino.

Wildlife Photography Tour to Kaziranga For
One Horned Indian Rhino.

Maximum group size : 8 Pax.
Total Days : 10
Accommodation : Twin Bed Room with attach toilet with hot and running cold water.
Food : Indian with continental breakfast. Veg. and Non Veg. meals served at lodge.
Transport : 3 pax in each car from Guwahaty to Kaziranga and back.
Season : Winter, warm clothes are necessary with warm cap and gloves.
Booking Date : End of September 2013.
Booking deposit : $700 Non Refundable.
Tour Cost : $1950 per person in twin sharing accommodation.
Single Supplement : $250
Insurance : Travel Insurance compulsory.
Medical : Please check with your GP about all the anti dots needed for India.
Includes : Accommodation, all meals in Kaziranga, all transport and air fare to guwahaty and back.
Extra's : - All drinks and beverages, Laundry, camera fee and all expenditures of personal nature.      

Day 1 . 24th January 2014 - Arrive at Delhi transfer to Hotel in Connaught Place. O/N stay.
Day 2 . 25th January 2014 - Fly to Guwahati and car to Kaziranga. O/N stay at Kaziranga.
Day 3 - 9. 26th Jan to 1st Feb - Morning and afternoon safari to the park in open jeep. 3 pax per jeep. Elephant ride on first morning (subject to availability)     O/N stay at Kaziranga 
Day  10 . 2nd February 2014  Car to Guwahati fly to Delhi Tour ends

20 minutes at Waterhole.

Since the route system is applied in Magadhi zone has become a real pain. That 12 km road journey breaks the back and rest of the journey in Magadhi is full of dust. Entering late is always a bad idea because one is always rushing to cover the route. 
Most relaxing spot we found in Magadhi was stopping at Dabadol waterhole.
On a crisp winter morning cricket comes to live slowly slowly. This action of coming to live turns out to be the moment of death for them. It is not only the Lapwing scanning the area for food but a pair of White Eyed Buzzard finds it more interesting to perch 3 feet above the ground than on tree top.
We saw a major food competition between waders and these buzzard. They wont let anyone come close to this grassland of about 1500 sq feet. One Indian Roller tried to join them but he was  chased away immediately. 

Lone Little Ring Plover wading through the shore was a real surprise. Different Sandpipers kept us busy. Mary told us the great joke about Sandpiper in Kanha, where person accompanied them from lodge spent about 30 minutes watching and learning about common sandpiper. A prime time of the morning was wasted on most common bird of Norwich.     

Sunday, March 3, 2013


I still dont believe that Vulture population is on rise in Bandhavgarh,
My opinion is based on field observation. Sighting of Vultures in Bandhavgarh Ntl Park and around Tala village on cattle carcasses.
Jaya killed a Sambhar in an open meadow on Kadipaani road. Since then she had another two kills so this carcass is about a week old. Vultures found this carcass today afternoon and total what we could count were not more than forty vultures sitting on ground and trees. We saw 35+ vultures on a cattle carcass in Tala village last month.
So these two sightings of Vultures on carcass shows the similar figures. This makes me feel that Vulture nos that were 80 + last year has come down to 40+. 

Let's wait for few more months and see what we see.    

Friday, March 1, 2013

Another Tiger died of electrocution in Katni division.

I was planning to leave for Bhopal on 25th Feb. I booked my ticket only a day before so I was all set to leave in afternoon. Every concerned person was informed to accommodate me for next three days. All these plans failed after a phone call. Somebody told me that there is a rumour that a Tiger is found dead near Barhi. I asked him to confirm the news and within minutes he confirms his own statement. I pass on the news to few concerned people and they were all unaware of. All those people should have had the news well before me but they all failed.
By one o clock in afternoon I was on my way to Barhi. This Tiger was lying in an open field hardly 100 mtrs away from Kua to Machmacha village road. Morning was very foggy around Katni and Barhi. People got up late and even they took their cattle to the jungle late. One of these cattle man saw cattles running away without any reason at this spot. When he looked up he saw a Tiger lying in open field. He rushed back to village to inform forest guard. Same case again. A trap of G.I. wire from 11KV line was laid on the ground. They meant to kill Sambar or Wild Boar but this male Tiger stepped on it. After seeing the Tiger they collected the wire and ran away leaving dead Tiger behind.
This was 4th Tiger death around Bandhavgarh through electrocution since Nov 2012. All were male. It was funny that how they declared Khitauli Tiger female while we photographed his charred testicles.
When Kay saw these photos and started matching with Tigers of Bandhavgarh she found it to be male cub of Khitauli female.
Here are pictures for you to see.

He was photographed by me following his mother in April 2012 near Damdama and now lying dead near Machmacha village.

Two destructive things in Bandhavgarh

What are the two most destructive things for wildlife and their habitat in Bandhavgarh?? 
I will say chain link fencing and Elephants.
Chain link fencing has not served any purpose in this park and in fact the present management has proved it by putting a Cattle Protection Trench around Gohni and Mahaman villages where 
Bandhavgarh faces maximum cattle pressure.
 Picture Copyright Natasha Broemling.
So why this was not done by other people. What benefit they saw in Chain Link fencing?
Sighting of Wild Dog, Wolf, Jackal, Porcupine and some other small mammals has gone down since the chain link fencing has come in Bandhavgarh. We don't see any other reason for their disappearance from in side the park because all of them shows their presence outside of the park where they are facing difficulties in their survival.
Second one is Elephant.
I don't see their use and viability of that many elephants in the park. Their use in patrolling the park has proved worthless.They are good for monitoring the Tigers but for that purpose park doesn't need that many elephants.    

Agra, Kumbh and Varanasi

I was travelling for two weeks in Agra, Kumbh and in Varanasi. I spent only three days in Agra and rest of the time in Kumbh and Varanasi. Had good time in Agra and in Kumbh but Varanasi was worst experience.
I booked rooms in Varanasi Palace on Steps hotel and paid them advance too but when our group reached there we found that only two rooms were available for ten pax.
In this situation one can shout to a limit or threaten them up to a limit because you have to see the guests and their comforts first.
Believe it or not we did not had any meal that day apart from breakfast at Lakshmi Kutir and dinner at this place was waste of money.
Agra was smoggy. Throat started crackling in a day. I was happy to leave Agra as early as possible but I had to suffer it for 3 days. 
Lakshmi Kutir at Kumbh Allahabad was a bliss. Those 106 steps to reach mela ground from Lakshmi Kutir kept many of the campers fit. I had a bad knee but never felt any pain after first day. In-fact after seeing the impact of those steps on my body I decided to go down and up 5 times a day. When I came home for a day on 11th first comment Kay, my wife made that I lost weight just in 13 days. Are you eating enough?? was her second question. I am not a greedy eater. I eat what I eat no matter how good the food is.
Poverty and greediness was an eye opener for me. Perfectly healthy people were drying Roti and Poori on road side. They were covered in thick layer of dust. I rate them as rodent and feel they should be eliminated. 
Other eye opener in Kumbh was cleaniless. Never expected Mela area that clean. Streets in Allahabad Kumbh fair were much cleaner than any street in Delhi apart from President house road. 
My this visit to Kumbh took me more far away from my religion. Surely I will visit next Kumbh, Sinhasth in Ujjain 2016.